Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid put to the test

Hybrid diesel electric urban truck impresses on first public outing

By Steve Skinner | March 19, 2013

Fuso has conducted the first media drives for its new hybrid diesel electric Canter, and the verdict from ATN and Owner//Driver is a thumbs up.

The Eco Hybrid has an electric motor supplementing a three-litre turbocharged engine. Under "regenerative braking", when coasting or applying the brake pedal, power is generated back into the lithium-ion battery.

Also when coasting downhill, the electric motor serves as an effective retarder.

Other impressive features noted during the driving sessions in the Geelong area in Victoria include the dual clutch automated gearbox, idle stop start function and mechanical suspension seat.

Fuso plans to test the second-generation hybrid in urban Australian conditions, but in the meantime gives its fuel saving estimates based on Australian data from the first generation model, combined with data for the latest version coming out of Japan.

Based on working 35,000km a year at an average speed of 35km/h, Fuso believes the hybrid can pay back its extra purchase price within four years.

Fuso Product Planning Manager Kevin Johnston says fuel savings compared with the diesel equivalent will vary with average speeds (the lower the speed the more economic the hybrid becomes).

"If we’re looking at very low speed, say on average 20 km/h, we would expect fuel improvements above 25 percent," Johnston says.

"If you’re looking at average speed of 35 km/h, maybe 22 percent improvement might be reasonable. Once above 40 km/h you are down into the teens or starting to miss the fuel potential of the hybrid."

Another addition to the Fuso line-up in Australia is a narrow-cab Canter tipper. Updates to the range include a five-speed automatic FK Fighter model and the option of a 700 litre fuel tank for the FV/FS Fuso prime mover.

Check out upcoming issues of ATN and Owner//Driver for more on the Eco Hybrid test.

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